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Security ramped up at Vegas marathon after mass shooting

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Las Vegas ramped up security for the annual Rock ‘n Roll Marathon, which was the first major outdoor event on the Strip since the mass shooting.

The city posted snipers and used a helicopter to watch for danger as tens of thousands of people participated in the race. Many wore T-shirts that read “Vegas Strong,” in memory of the Oct. 1 attack.

Some runners who picked up their race packages Thursday at a convention center mentioned defiance, strength, and resilience among their reasons to take part in the event less than two months after the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history rattled a city known for its partying atmosphere.

With an American flag pinned to his shirt, Ben Rumph, who lives in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, said he never considered canceling his participation after the shooting. The 80-year-old US Navy veteran had trained year-round to run the half marathon for the 10th time.

“The shooting was an entity, an event, by itself. I was going to run whether that happened or not,” Rumph said. “I’m a veteran. I stood up and raised my hand that I would either kill some people or be killed to protect what we have in this country. My decision is to do the same thing today. I don’t mean to go kill or anything like that, but to stand up for that principal.”

Another half-marathon participant, Esther Reincke, ran to honor a friend who was killed during the massacre. Reincke said 28-year-old Cameron Robinson, who she described as a happy and “wicked smart” guy, had been part of her team in a 200-mile relay race last year. They both met while working for the city of Las Vegas.

“It is still hard to believe not only that this event happened in our city, but for it to hit home that close, he was one of our co-workers and a friend of mine,” Reincke, 60, said.

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